I used the recipe from my Hummingbird Bakery book, except I had no white vinegar so I used cider vinegar instead which is just a little sweeter, and some recipes call for it rather than white vinegar.
This recipe called for a LOT of beating. Now call me old-fashioned, but I've always been taught (mainly by my mum who is also a baking enthusiast) and by all of her 70s cookbooks, to fold flour gently into the mixture right at the end, to trap the air and ensure your cakes rise to perfection. So I was a bit dubious about all this high speed whizzing Hummingbird Bakery suggested - but I guess they are experts! Unfortunately my cupcakes rose rather unspectacularly. I seem to have somewhat of an issue with cakes that hardly rise though, and I think the problem is more to do with my cranky old oven than the recipes/techniques I'm using. Any tips would be very welcome though, as replacing the old oven isn't an option at the moment!
Anyway, this picture doesn't do the mixture justice - it was a brilliant blood red!
The recipe said bake for 20 - 25 minutes, but I took mine out after 20 and thought that was just a little too long; 18 or 19 minutes would have been just right.
I piped these with a simple vanilla buttercream, but I've heard cream cheese frosting is the traditional topping for red velvet cupcakes. I tend not to use a recipe for buttercream and have a habit of throwing everything in until it looks right. But here is the recipe for the cupcakes (not exactly as it appears in the Hummingbird Bakery book as they are very descriptive and I'm a lazy typer!) my notes in italics:
60g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp red food colouring
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
150g plain flour plus 2 tablespoons
(I don't know why the extra 2 tablespoons...)
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar (or cider vinegar in my case!)
- Preheat oven to 170⁰C.
- Beat butter and sugar on a medium speed until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer up to a high speed, and slowly add egg and beat until everything is well incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, mix the cocoa, red food colouring and vanilla extract to make a dark thick paste (I found it wasn't quite 'paste' like...slightly runny) add this to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until everything is evenly combined and coloured.
- Turn mixer to a slow speed and pour in half the buttermilk. Beat until well mixed, then add half the flour and beat until everything is well incorporated. Repeat until all buttermilk and flour has been added.
- Turn mixer to a high speed, and beat until you have a smooth, even mixture. Turn the mixer to a slow speed and add the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Turn up the speed and beat again for a couple more minutes.
- Spoon into cases and bake for 20-25 minutes (I think 18 or 19 would be enough)
And voilà! My finished cake, topped with a red fondant heart. They looked quite pretty and wow, they tasted good! I will be making red velvet cupcakes again, very soon hopefully, but perhaps with a slightly different recipe next time...